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8 August 2001
Twenty-one “pretty much the same”

23 June 2001
Internet Grammar Lady “bad” and “wrong”

30 May 2001
Teeth “constant source of infection”—doctor

18 May 2001
Powell denies he has “great abs”

17 May 2001
Mordeno: Check yourself out!
“A sophisticated rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity.”
—Benjamin Disraeli
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f a q 
Sometimes people ask me questions I just can't be arsed answering, because they're just the same questions, over and over again. So here it is at last: my Frequently Arsed Questions (FAQ) page.
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q u e s t i o n s   a b o u t   m e 
? When are you online?

Most week days between about 10:30pm and 11:30pm, New Zealand time. Come and find me on ICQ (41048242) or MSN Messenger (mister_asparagus@hotmail.com).

? Do you know any nice guys just like you that I could date?

Unfortunately, we're a dying breed, and it's getting harder and harder to find nice guys. My theory on this is that "niceness" is genetic, so if your father was a nice guy, so will you be, but all the women are marrying bastards, so the genetic stock is dying out.

? Oh, you went to Shirley Boys'! Do you know...?


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? What happened to matt-powell.com?

The hand that gaveth also tooketh away.

I used to have a free domain name with namezero.com. This was really cool. Unfortunately, they decided it was too cool, and that after a year of using it, it was high time I started paying for it. Yeah, right. Pity they didn't tell me that when I started out. True, it's only $80 a year, but I'm an impoverished student.

Currently you can only apply for a ‘free’ domain with namezero.com if you live in the US, and you could still be turned down. They officially suck now.

Anyway, I have a new domain now, at www.matt-powell.org.nz, which is much better. Yay.

? How do you make your pages? What software do you use?

I code all my pages in raw HTML, from the ground up. I don't trust "WYSIWYG" editors like Frontpage, Composer or Dreamweaver, because although they may be easier to use (and even that's debatable), they put a lot of extra garbage into your HTML pages that may cause problems for people viewing it. At least this way I can check my HTML for consistency as I go, and if there are problems with the page, I can fix them, instead of just slapping a "best viewed with" disclaimer on the front page.

For editing, I use a program called EditPlus, which includes all sorts of macros and syntax highlighting to make HTML editing easier. I used to use HotDog, but I found it to be a little slow and unwieldy (and quite expensive if I wanted to register it...)

I do concede a little to the modern comforts of automated web-page design: all my pages are generated using a Python script I wrote, which allows me to define all the common elements like headings, borders, colours, etc, in a separate file, and when that's updated, running the script will change everything at once, and automatically update the little contents bar you can see on the left there. It's not really cheating, because I still have to write all the HTML. It just saves me an awful lot of copy'n'paste work.

? How did you learn to make web pages like that?

There are three essential steps to learning web design: experiment, copy other people, and experiment. Also, some good books can help. I use HTML Complete (Sybex, 1999), which is probably more of a reference (it's over a thousand pages long); for starting out, try HTML 4 for Dummies, or SAMS Teach Yourself HTML.

Good on-line references can be found at w3c.org, the people who set the standards for HTML. Again, this is a reference, not a tutorial. Another good site to try is WebMonkey, a site with tips, tricks and tutorials for web designers at every level.

Alternatively, you could follow my web tutorials.

? Your pages look funny when I view them with (some browser). Fix them!

OK, first of all, that's not even a question.

Secondly, I do try. I really do. Every page on my site is meticulously checked for compatibility with the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 5.5 for Windows (my "development" browser)
  • Netscape Navigator 4.73 for Windows
  • Netscape 6 for Windows
  • Opera 5 for Windows
  • Netscape Navigator 4.7 for Solaris

This really is all I can get my hands on at the moment, and I figure it represents a pretty large cross-section of the people who'll end up seeing my page. I also run my HTML and CSS files through the w3c's official validators to check for incompatibility problems.

However, if you do experience problems viewing my page, please accept my humble and sincere apologies. If your browser is on the list above, first check to see if some setting on your browser is interfering (yeah, I know it shouldn't make any difference, but hey), then e-mail me with a description of the page address (URL), what the problem is, and, if possible, a screenshot (GIF or PNG format please, not BMP).

If you're not using one of the above browsers, consider downloading a more recent version of your current browser (well worth it in the long run), or e-mail me to suggest I download your browser and check it out. Please don't tell me to install earlier versions of Netscape or IE, though, as this causes version conflicts and all manner of Bad Things.

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